Professor Dierk Raabe - 2022 Acta Materialia Gold Medal Recipient
Professor Dierk Raabe - 2022 Acta Materialia Gold Medal Recipient

The recipient of the 2022 Acta Materialia Gold Medal is Dr. Dierk Raabe, Director at the Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Professor Dierk Raabe studied music, metallurgy and metal physics. After obtaining his doctorate degree in 1992 and habilitation 1997 at at Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen in Germany he received a Heisenberg scholarship from the German Science Foundation and worked at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 1999, he joined the Max Planck Society as a director and scientific member. He received the Leibniz Award and an ERC Advanced Grant. He is a Professor of Physical Metallurgy and Metal Physics at RWTH Aachen and an honorary Professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. He co-chaired the 2019 Gordon Conference on Physical Metallurgy. Among several institutional responsibilities Professor Raabe has chaired the Board of Governors of RWTH Aachen University, is a member of the decision committee for Germany’s Excellence Initiative, is a senator of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, has been a member of the Council of Science and Humanities of the German government and is a vice senator of the German Academy Leopoldina.

His scientific activities focus on the interplay between lattice defects, their chemistry, processes to modify them and the properties that can be achieved. He applies this approach to several fields, particularly Computational Materials Science, multiscale microstructure characterization, alloy design and sustainability of metallic materials.

In Computational Materials Science his expertise lies in micromechanics and its interplay with chemistry and phase transformation. His and his team’s work have led to the software package DAMASK, a free material simulation kit for modeling multi-physics crystal plasticity, thermal, and damage phenomena from the single crystal up to the component scale. It is employed by hundreds of academic users and companies (

His expertise in multiscale analysis of complex metallic materials lies in the application of correlative atomic-scale probing of structure and chemistry at the same material position, e.g. chemical decoration and transformation features at internal interfaces, dislocations or even single vacancies, using atom probe tomography, electron microscopy, field ion microscopy, theory and machine learning. This approach enabled discoveries such as low-dimensional transformations of chemically decorated dislocation core regions or partitioning phenomena among several types of adjacent phases and lattice defects.

In alloy design he applies his approach to the trade-off problem between mechanical strength and ductility. As a key mechanism to solve this fundamental conflict he introduced a metastability alloy design principle. This means that the thermodynamic stability of the dominant matrix phase of an alloy is compositionally adjusted in such a way that athermal transformation mechanisms (such as twinning and martensite formation which both profoundly increase the material’s strength) are activated in a specific window of the stress-strain regime where they are needed to counteract localization and micro-damage inside the alloy. This metastability alloy design concept has led to several discoveries of new materials with exceptional load-bearing capacity paired with high damage tolerance.

His microstructure-centered approach also assists in the latest research quest, to identify pathways towards enhanced sustainability of metallic materials, in areas which include reduced-carbon-dioxide primary production, recycling of metals, scrap-compatible alloy design, contaminant- and hydrogen tolerance of alloys, hydrogen-plasma based reduction and hydrogen-based direct reduction of iron ores.

The common scientific motif behind Dr. Raabe’s research activities is the interplay of materials microstructures, i.e. their defect cosmos, and their local chemistry with respect to the features that result from that or can be tuned through it. For revealing these laws, Dr.  Raabe uses well-designed experiments in concert with predictive simulations and their consequent engineering application for inventing advanced alloys and processes. The aim is the physics-based design of materials with superior properties and sustainable production processes, for the fields of energy, mobility, infrastructures and health from the atomic to the macro-scale under consideration of synthesis and manufacturing.

Dr. Raabe will receive the Acta Materialia Gold Medal during the 2022 TMS Spring Meeting to be held in Anaheim, California, February 27 – March 3, 2022.